Scruggs Nation, March 6: anonymous jury, more sweet potatoes

In the Scruggs bribery case, Judge Biggers granted the government’s request for an anonymous jury because of concerns of potential harassment and intimidation. Here’s a copy of his order, and here is an excerpt, which I have broken up into paragraphs for easier reading:

The court also finds that element (1) above exists in this case in that extensive publicity has been paid to this case thus far and, after the trial begins, publicity will likely increase and the names and addresses of the jurors sitting on the case would be enhanced and more likely cause attempts to contact the jurors by news media or friends or acquaintances who do not know the proper role for juror conduct, and therefore more pressure would be brought on the jurors if their names were in the public news media during the trial.

There is also consideration that the jurors would be subject to intimidation, pressure, and approaches by agents of the defendants. That is the tactic that has been alleged by the government to have been used with the judges in this case and the 404(b) case, according to the testimony before the court at this time.

In the case of U.S. v. Edwards, 303 F.3d at 614, the court pointed out that the defendant had numerous operatives and allies who might have attempted to influence the jurors, and that circumstance was an element to be considered along with others that existed in justifying an anonymous jury.

Also filed today was the government’s response to Zach Scruggs’ motion to dismiss the indictment. Here’s a copy.  The response casts the motion is a very poor light, trying to make it look like a desperate and somewhat silly attempt to nitpick over parsing of the phrase "sweet potatoes." 

 

  

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